ECONOMY

Hoteliers hire firm to monitor illegal tourism accommodation

Greek tourism bodies are forming a strong front – including a dedicated inspection unit – against the phenomenon of illegal tourism accommodation. The latter constitutes a major source of tax evasion in the country, as for two in every five nights spent by tourists in Greece are in undeclared accommodation.

The president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, told a national conference of room rental entrepreneurs on Monday that illegal accommodation is a huge problem for Greek tourism, with such units taking the place of their legal counterparts for as much as 40 percent of nights spent in Greece by visitors.

To combat this phenomenon, SETE intends to commission a company to perform electronic checks on the tourism accommodation that is illegally available.

The data collected will be forwarded to the country’s tourism and tax authorities, which will in turn perform targeted inspections and impose the penalties provided for by law.

Giorgos Tsakiris, the head of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, said that the turnover of the approximately 500,000 illegal beds available for visitors amounts to 2 billion euros per year, leading to losses not only for state coffers but also law-abiding professionals.